a glorious period of unemployment
During a glorious period of unemployment (35, a good age to spend some time with yourself, right?), I stumbled upon a proof of Donald Richie’s The Japan Journals, loved it, but wanted to do more than just read it and throw it on the shelf. So I dropped the Lambda Book Report a note asking if they’d be interested in me reviewing it. They responded warmly and published my review in their next issue.
I then queried them about possibly reviewing Han Ong’s then-new book, The Disinherited (another proof, bless Housing Works Used Bookstore and Café, where I volunteered at the time). They wanted an interview as well and boom! I landed the cover of the next issue! Which was great, but also turned out to be the last issue of the magazine in that particular incarnation. Bummed that they folded, but bitten by the reviewing bug, I decided to move forward, hitting up other publications, but with two principle goals: I was going to focus on writing positive reviews; it’s just too easy to trash a book. I’d read enough snotty reviews where the reviewer was obviously impressed more with their own wit rather than dealing with the text at hand. I mostly focused on the gay Asian experience. Basically gay letters are just too fucking white. Sexual colonialism is something I’ve explored in my own work, so naturally I was drawn to investigate the writings of others in this area.
The more queer speculative fiction I wrote, coupled with the Lost Library project, the more I grew curious about the history of gay science fiction and fantasy. I poured over pioneer texts and eventually, for a short period, wrote a regular column about my discoveries for Icarus. I discussed Chrome, by George Nader, Thomas Burnett Swann's How Are the Mighty Fallen, Geoff Ryman's overlooked novel, Lust, and interviewed the surviving author of Uranian Worlds, a fascinating 1990 dictionary of all things queer in speculative fiction.
Donald Richie has sent passed away and the reincarnated Lambda Book Report reprinted my review.
Han Ong interview and review.